New Siksika First Nation boxing centre aims to heal through exercise

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“There is a lot of research going on into exercise and how it affects mental health and how it is beneficial for them,” said Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho

Author of the article:

Meghan Potkins, Olivia Condon Calgary Herald

Publication date:

August 22, 202149 minutes agoRead for 2 minutes Join the conversation Tyler White, CEO of Siksika Health Services, left, Manny Yellowfly, Therapeutic Physical Trainer, Dr.  Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, Siksika Health Mental Health Clinical Lead, and Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika Parks and Recreation, cut the ribbon at the opening of The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Tyler White, CEO of Siksika Health Services, left, Manny Yellowfly, Therapeutic Physical Trainer, Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, Siksika Health Mental Health Clinical Lead, and Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika Parks and Recreation, cut the ribbon at the opening of The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

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The opening of a new boxing and fitness center on Siksika First Nation marks the beginning of a journey towards a long-term goal of healing, connecting the mind and body, and promoting physical wellbeing.

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After years of planning and pandemic delays, the nation celebrated the grand opening of the new Many Guns Boxing and Fitness Center on Saturday afternoon.

Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, head of the mental health clinical team at Siksika Health Services, said the facility will serve many purposes for the community, including physical activity to promote positive mental health.

“Because of trauma, we have many addictions in our community (and) we have tried to think of ways that could help our community in the long term,” she said. “There is a lot of research going on around exercise and how it affects mental health and how it positively affects it.”

Bearchief-Adolpho said that boxing, in particular, is an opportunity for participants to “connect mind and heart”.

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“(This) would allow a person to understand their emotions and express their emotions,” she said. “They are able to have cognitive flexibility, their executive functions would increase, and they could solve problems that they may have been dealing with for a long time.”

Dr.  Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, Siksika Health Mental Health Clinical Lead, speaks at the opening of The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, Siksika Health Mental Health Clinical Lead, speaks at the opening of The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

In addition to dealing with isolation from COVID-19 for the past year and a half, parishioners must also face the recent discoveries of unmarked graves in former residential school locations across the country, as well as the ongoing intergenerational trauma caused by this school system.

“We hope people can use the gym as a way to offer a healthier type of intervention versus self-medication,” she said. “We hope this will help individuals overcome some of the challenges they face with issues related to COVID and everything related to (residential school) issues.”

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One of the center’s therapeutic physio trainers, Manny Yellow Fly, said the gym’s namesake, the late Clifford Many Guns, will serve as an inspiration to employees and clients.

“Although Clifford was a guy who influenced and promoted boxing, he was also a guy who played pretty much every sport, trained many sports and brought a lot of good values ​​to the community,” he said, adding that he hopes to be able to use them The mentality of many guns is said to have a positive effect on the youth of the nation.

“I can bring in the boxing mentality, the values ​​and characteristics that boxing brings with it, such as perseverance, (positive) attitude, hard work. . . and mix them up somehow. “

Manny Yellow Fly, Therapeutic Physical Trainer, poses for a photo at The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Manny Yellow Fly, Therapeutic Physical Trainer, poses for a photo at The Many Guns Boxing & Fitness Center on Siksika Nation on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

In addition to camps and other programs specifically for young people, said Yellow Fly, there will also be opportunities for older people to take part in a variety of activities. In the future, yoga, CrossFit and other fitness courses will be integrated into the center.

With the center officially opened, Bearchief-Adolpho said there are numerous opportunities for healing and for community members to better manage their mental and physical health.

“If we can heal the physical self, we will be able to discover the underlying problems, psychological problems that arise. . . I have great hope that this can have a positive impact on our community. “

ocondon@postmedia.com

mpotkins@postmedia.com

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